Best Short Stories

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"Why not?" asked the judge. "It won't cost you anything. Why don't you want a lawyer?"

"Well, jedge, Ah'll tell you, suh," said the old man, waving his tattered old hat confidentially. "Hit's dis way. Ah wan' tah enjoy dem chickens mahse'f."


The historic colored preacher who held forth so strenuously after the Civil War has almost become obsolete, but in certain sections he still holds his own, as the following sermon, taken from _Life_, will show:

Brederen an' Sisterin: I done read de Bible from kiver to kiver, from lid to lid an' from end to end, an' nowhar do I find a mo' 'propriate tex' at dis time, when de whole worl' is scrimmigin' wid itse'f, dan de place whar Paul Pinted de Pistol at de Philippines an' said, "Dou art de man."

Kaiser Bill ob Germany is de man, an' Uncle Sam done got de pistol pinted his way, an' goin' to pull de trigger, lessen Bill gits off his perch, like dat woman Jezebel dat sassed Ahab from de roof top.

Ahab say to his soldiers, "Go up an' th'ow dat woman down," an' dey th'ew her down. Den he say, "Go up an' th'ow her down again," an' dey th'ew her down again; an' he say, "Take her back up an th'ow her down seben times," an' dey th'owed her down seben times, an' ast if dat ain't enough.

But Ahab done got his dander up, an' say, "No! Dat ain't enough. Th'ow her down sebenty times seben."

And afterwards dey done pick up twelve baskets ob de fragments dereob.

Dat's what gwine ter happen ter dat Bill Heah Him Hollerin.

De Good Book done fo'told dis here war, an' jist how it gwine ter end. Don't it say about de four beasts in de book of Relations, what spit fire an' brimstone, meanin' de Kaiser, de Turks, de Ostriches, and de Bullgeraniums, case two ob dem beasteses is birds, an' Ostriches an' Turkys is birds. De bigges' beast is de Kaiser, case he uses Germans to pizen his enemies. De newspapers say as how diseases is all caused by Germans gittin' in de food an' bein' breathed in de lungs, givin' folks hydrophobia an' lumbago an' consumption.

Dis brings us to de time when Abraham led de chillun ob Israel into Egypt, an' Moses led 'em out again case de folks ob Egypt so bad dey shoot craps all day, and eben make Faro de king. Dey take all de money 'way from de Jews an' raise de price ob cawn an' hay till de po' Jews can't live.

Rockefeller-Morgan Faro, de king, say dey can't go, but Moses done got de Lawd on his side, an' he crossed de Red Sea in submarines, so Faro got drowned wid all his host. De mummy ob dat same Faro is still alive in de big museums ob de world, but whar de host is no man can tell.

Dat de way de Wall Street gang dat been raisin' de price ob food gwine ter pass in dey checks--in de Red Sea ob blood ob dis war.

Moses an' de Jews went trabelin' ober de desert till one day dey gits so hungry dey makes a fatted calf ob gold while Moses up on Mount Sinai gittin' de law laid down. Moses come er-cussin' back an' busted de Law ober Aaron's head, an' den dey killed de fatted calf an' put a ring on his finger. For de prodigal done return, an' dey is mo' rejoicin' ober one sinner sabed dan ninety an' nine what doan know 'nuff to put deir money in de contribution box instead ob shootin' it 'way on craps.

Oh, I knows you backsliders, an' ef any ob you doan come across while Dekin Jones passes de box, I'se gwine ter preach nex' Sunday on what happened ter de money-chasers in de temple.

We will now sing two verses ob "Th'ow Out de Lifeline, Anoder Ship Sinkin' To-day."


The hobo knocked at the back door and the lady of the house appeared.

"Lady," he said, "I was at the front--"

"You poor man!" she exclaimed. "One of war's victims. Wait till I get you some food, and you shall tell me your story. You were in the trenches, you say?"

"Not in the trenches. I was at the front--"

"Don't try to talk with your mouth full. Take your time. What deed of heroism did you do at the front?"

"Why, I knocked, but I couldn't make nobody hear, so I came around to the back."

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